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How can the archives inspire climate fiction?

Holding History Podcast

Season 2: Episode 1



“There’s a current in American culture of displacing catastrophe to other places, other times…”

-Bruce Holsinger

This episode features a conversation with Bruce Holsinger, Professor of Medieval Literature at the University of Virginia Department of English. In addition to his academic writing, Bruce is an award-winning fiction writer. We talk with him about his latest novel, The Displacements. The book is climate fiction from the near future, filled with, per the New York Times, “suffocating eventfulness.”


The book also houses an internal, fictionalized digital humanities archive. We talk with Bruce about how his fiction writing asks questions that overlap with his academic writing (see his latest, On Parchment). At stake in both is the archive, its power, its past, and its future.


The Displacements’ fictional archive is reminiscent of real digital humanities projects interested in human displacement. And its assemblage will remind readers of a commonplace book (examples here, and here) as well as the medieval florilegium.


Along the way, we touch on the genre of the campus novel, the research of Alexander Gil Fuentes, Zoroastrianism, and much more.


A transcript of this episode can be accessed here.



Wherever you find the Holding History Podcast, please like, subscribe, and provide feedback. Use the comment section below, or contact us at holdinghistory@wisc.edu with questions or suggestions. Thanks for listening!



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